Bikes in Amsterdam

by Tanja
Bikes in Amsterdam

There are more bikes than people in Amsterdam, about 900.000. In Holland, traditionally, the bicycle is used as a means of transportation. It’s an easy way to get around as there are no hills or mountains in The Netherlands and the climate is mild. In Amsterdam, distances are short and cycling is part of daily life.

Does everyone have a bike in Amsterdam?

Almost everyone has a bike in Amsterdam. It’s most popular way to get around. Most people actually have more than one bike. They have their ‘station bike’, the crappy old one they use to get to and from the station and a decent sportive bike for recreation in the weekends.. In Amsterdam most of the bikes you see in the streets look very old, rusty and crappy. That’s is because a shiny new bike is more likely to be stolen. Their best bike is kept indoors, when possible. 

Where can you buy a bike in Amsterdam?

In Amsterdam there is a bike shop around every corner. Bike shops in Amsterdam sell second hand bikes, rent bicycles, repair them and sell accessoires for bicycles.

How much is a bike in Amsterdam?

A second hand bike in Amsterdam cost anywhere between 110 and 300 euros. Bikes are expensive! And they look old too! But the parts are new and usually there should be a guarantee. Don’t buy a bike on the street, it’s always stolen. Find more Cycling in Amsterdam rules.

How can I hire a bike in Amsterdam?

There are rental bike shop found everywhere in Amsterdam where you can hire a bike per hour or per day. Prices in the center are higher than just outside the canal ring. Outside the canal belt, renting a bike in Amsterdam is from € 7,50 PER DAY. In the center of Amsterdam, it is from € 5,00 PER HOUR!

1. The OV-fiets

There are two ways to hire a bike the cheap way, but both are only possible for people who are living in The Netherlands. The first is the OV-fiets. These bicycles are for hire at all major train stations. It’s a yellow and blue bike. It’s very popular.

Hire of an OV-fiets costs € 3,85 per 24 hours. The Dutch OV-fiets can only be rented with a personal OV-chip card, the Dutch system for public transport. You can only order a personal OV-chip card online if you have an address in The Netherlands.

2. Swapfiets

The second way to hire a bicycle in Amsterdam for a longer period of time and very cheap, is Swapfiets. Swapfiets rents bicycles for a fixed amount per month. For Amsterdam it’s from € 16,50 per month. The bicycle is delivered to you at your home address. When it’s broken, they come to fix it for you.

Are there many electric bikes in Amsterdam?

Electric bikes are very popular in The Netherlands. In Amsterdam for a while it was not considered very cool to ride an e-bike, but things have changed. Also in Amsterdam, there are now (2019) more e-bikes used, especially by people who need to ride a long distance from home to work.

An e-bike gives an extra boost when you cycle. It works with a battery which can be charged at home. In 2019 there were more electric bicycles than normal (city) bicycles sold in The Netherlands.

Many bikes are not used in Amsterdam

This is happens when people get annoyed with unused bikes….

After the shortage of parking spaces for cars, there now seems to be a problem with finding a place to park your bike. Part of the problem are what are called orphan bikes: thousands of bikes are left  locked in the streets, to waste, abandoned by their owners.

Some interesting Amsterdam bicycle statistics:

  • In Amsterdam there are about 900.000 bikes.
  • According to estimates 15% of the bikes in the street are never or rarely used.
  • About 160 bikes are taken from the streets of Amsterdam every day, because they are badly parked or old and broken.
  • The lost bikes depot holds more than 12.000 bicycles every day.
  • About 40% of these bikes are eventually being picked up by their owners.
  • About 50.000 bikes are reported stolen every year, which is 8% of the total amount of bikes. But probably only about 30% of the people report a stolen bike in Amsterdam.
  • 6 out of 10 people who live in Amsterdam have a bike parked in the centre which they don’t use.
  • 55% of the Amsterdam people consider orphan bikes a major problem, because these bikes take up parking space and make the streets look messy.

Lost your bike in Amsterdam?

To tackle this problem, unused bikes are regularly taken off the streets. First there is warning leaflet left on the bike. If you don’t remove the leaflet within a certain period, the bike is moved to the Bicycle Depository run by the city council. You can pick up your bike there.


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